Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | September 19, 2012

I happened upon a tattered copy of the 1968 Angler's Guide published by the Maryland Department of Game & Inland Fish - 18 three by six-inch pages of regulatory info for the freshwater fisherman. There was no Department of Natural Resources at that time. DNR would launch a year later as the Free State's principal conservation agency.

In 1968, a fishing license cost $3.00. The trout stamp was a dollar, and there was no Maryland tidal fishing license. The need for a conservation commitment was nonetheless evident in the Pledge printed on page 16 just after the spearfishing rules and before a list of 16 public launch ramps. Since then, the DNR Waterway Improvement Fund has financed over 4,500 grant projects valued at $300 million to develop and maintain more than 400 public boating access sites throughout Maryland:

The Conservation Pledge "I give my pledge as an American to save, and faithfully to defend from waste, the natural resources of my country - its soil and minerals, its forests, waters and wildlife." In Our Schools - In All Assemblies of Americans - Let This Pledge Ring Out!"

I'm regularly reminded these days by my young daughter, her friends and the barefooted boys and girls who cast from the rocks and check crab pots around the neighborhood, that the need for a conservation pledge remains. These kids want and deserve to be able to continue to enjoy the excellent outdoor opportunities that we have right now, such as:

There is excellent trout fishing in western Maryland, where cool temperatures are adding oxygen and energy to the water and the fish. Our experts recommend terrestrial patterns (crickets and hoppers) this time of year. The catch & release section of the Youghiogheny River has been fishing well, evident by the 17 inch rainbow caught by Don Cosden over the Labor Day break.


Don Cosden and a 17-inch Youghiogheny rainbow. Photo by Al Klotz

Youth angler Devin Angleberger from Frederick swears by the Trout Magnet lure, and I wouldn't bet against him based on the photographic proof in his regular posts to the DNR Angler's Log. Fly anglers turn to black or olive wooly buggers when they simply must catch a fish. Otherwise, an Adams parachute will provide the dry-fly challenge, visual stimulation and tight line you are casting for.

Night fishing for channel cats in the Youghiogheny River remains good. Using chicken livers in shallow water pretty much guarantees steady action. I mean, who other than my daughter doesn't like chicken livers?

Walleye fishing in Deep Creek Lake remains best at night using crankbaits, grubs and leeches in deep water over submerged vegetation.

Deep Creek Lake northern pike go for live shiners hooked in the lip.

Smallmouth bass in the Upper Potomac downstream of Brunswick are worth the effort. These may be the toughest fighting fish, ounce-for-ounce in Maryland. On Monday, lead scientists and biologists from DNR Inland Fisheries Division and the DNR Resource Assessment Service joined renowned Maryland angler Lefty Kreh for a float down the river to compare current and historical smallmouth bass population data with the remarkable memories of this legend from his 70 years of fishing that stretch of water.


Lefty Kreh shows how it's done on the Upper Potomac. Photo by Joe Evans

We entered the river under a bright blue sky, which highlighted the crystal green-tinted water made clear by the great meadows of blooming star grass. While these conditions are beautiful to see, it doesn't make fishing so easy since the fish have great options and reasons to hide and hold deep in the holes under the grass mats and the rock ledges. As the light fog lifted from the river valley, a steady hatch of cream-colored Trico mayflies rose from the surface to mix with swirls of pale blue damselflies. An immature eagle circled above. Otherwise, we had the river entirely to ourselves for the six-mile drift to Point of Rocks.

While Lefty remained true to his fly rod and poured out sharp recollections of the hot spots and the good times in the 1950s when a everyday duffer with a bamboo rod could catch 150 fish in a day, DNR biologist John Mullican quietly accumulated proof of a pretty good fishery with a count 30 smallies caught on dark plastic worms rigged wacky style. I was along to serve as a shuttle/chuffeur/ paddler and had some stray luck dragging a fluffy Lefty-designed muddler/streamer fly through the shadows of the stream bank tree canopy.


Lefty's Potomac Smallie Fly. Photo by Joe Evans

Largemouth bass fishing in the Tidal Potomac River and Upper Bay remains a top-water activity over grass beds in low light-early and late in the day. Spinner and chatter baits are good choices around hard structure. The average water temperature has fallen into the mid 70s, good for surface and shallow water action.

The reports of robust white perch fishing in the tributaries are reliable and enthusiastic. Jim Rivers, the Annapolis perch doctor, has been seen reeling in chunky whites from the rocks at Bay Ridge and off the Naval Academy wall. Similar accounts of steady perch pulling in the Wye River, Miles, Magothy, Patapsco and you-name-it have piled up in email and text message logs. Young anglers who dangle Fish-Bite or Powerbait lures off of the dock will score if they are keen to the discreet feel of the bite. Anglers who prefer to drift and cast into the rocks, stumps, and grass beds will have fun using Beetlespin and RoosterTail lures.

And, get this! In many of these places you can expect to hook juvenile redfish using the same baits and techniques. The high salinity and relatively favorable water quality of this dry summer and other unidentified factors have brought the Upper Bay an unusual influx of these young drum fish. Anglers are catching them as far north as the Patapsco. You may keep one a day in the 18-inch to 27-inch slot.


Jimmy Whipple and his South River redfish. Photo courtesy of Jimmy Whipple

The big stripers have returned right on time after our summer of steady action on countless yearling rockfish. Snapper bluefish and young stripers continue to frantically attack schools of bay anchovies along the current breaks and lumps where they have provided dependable entertainment for the past four months. Now, top anglers are beginning to pick up keeper sized fish in the fray, particularly when fishing jigs under the surface blitzes. Half-ounce jig heads rigged with juicy Bass Kandy Delights or similar soft plastic tails are the ticket for getting down to the big fish. If the bluefish are marauding, skip the soft plastics and go with a metal jig as the blues will simply bite off the tails in an evil scheme to disappoint you and deplete your fishing lure budget. Just about anything you can throw will work for the surface action underneath the circling seagulls. Likely spots include the mouth of the Choptank and Chester Rivers as well as Eastern Bay, Poplar Island, Hackett's Point and the Bay Bridges.

Run & gun anglers with quick boats are hunting Spanish mackerel as far north as the Belvidere Shoals. The birds will show you the way. A bright spoon retrieved or trolled quickly will give you your best chance.

Down-de-Ocean, the flounder continue to bite. Use a short, six-and a half-foot casting rod with a sensitive tip and a level-wind bait casting reel spun with 20- to 30-pound braided line. Tie a three way swivel on your leader and hang a sinker from one eye with about nine inches of monofilament and a shrimp or a minnow from the other eye with 18-inches of mono. If you are using a shiner, hook it through the eyes. If it's a minnow, hook it through the lips. Let it bump along a sandy bottom, and pay attention for the subtle take that is a flounder sucking in the bait.

Offshore, the blue water action over the Washington and Norfolk canyons continues to reinforce why Ocean City is called the white Marlin Capital of the World. Offshore anglers have reported more than 80 caught and released whites since our last report.

In developing fishing news - it appears that Maryland could soon have a new Chesapeake Bay sheepshead record with a 13.3-pound fish caught on Sunday at Kedge's Straits just south of South Marsh Island by Dan Thomas of Delmar, MD. Some essential paperwork remains before the record is certified and etched in the history book. Meanwhile, here's a photo of the angler and his fish.

It's a great time to be an angler in Maryland.


Dan Thomas and his 13.3-pound sheephead. Photo courtesy of Dan Thomas

Joe Evans

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Keith Lockwood has been writing the Fishing Report since 2003 and has had a long career as a fisheries research biologist since 1973. Over the course of his career he has studied estuarine fishery populations, ocean species, and over a decade long study of bioaccumulation of chemicals in aquatic species in New Jersey. Upon moving to Oxford on the eastern shore of Maryland; research endeavors focused on a variety of catch and release studies as well as other fisheries related research at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory. Education and outreach to the fishing public has always been an important component to the mission of these studies. Keith is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, bird dogs, family and life on the eastern shore of Maryland.



Latest Angler's Log Reports


Jacob Holtz
Recreational Angler
Silver Spring
Total Reports:
8
Sent in on: July 23, 2014 Permalink

Weekend Report

Type: Freshwater
Region: Central
Location: Patapsco River, Northwest Branch and Susquehanna State Park
Tags: Smallmouth Bass, Pumpkinseed, Chub, Fallfish

I got to spend some time in and on the water this past weekend and thought I'd send an update. On Saturday, I fished the Patapsco with my wife Beata, who caught her biggest fish to date (10" smallmouth), which was also the biggest fish of the day. Also caught a number of pumpkinseeds, chubs, and fallfish. Later that evening while waiting on friends I fished the Northwest Branch in Montgomery County. I caught more pumpkinseeds than I could count, none more than 6", but all an absolute joy to catch in a tiny urban stream. Then on Sunday we made a short visit to the Susquehanna State Park and fished along the bank for about half an hour. Unfortunately it was right as the water levels started rising due to afternoon energy production at the dam, but before we got flooded out we connected on another nice smallie and a fairly hefty sunfish. All of the fish over the course of the weekend were caught on small in-line spinners.

We also collected some raspberries along the way to the fishing spots - just another great reason to get out!

 PHOTOS 

Dave Zajano
Recreational Angler
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: July 23, 2014 Permalink

Memorial Stadium Reef and Mr. Whiskers

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Upper Bay
Location: Memorial Stadium Reef
Tags: White Perch, Channel Catfish, MARI Survey

I am very happy to report that the White Perch have finally arrived on the upper bay reefs. Their arrival this year is more than one month later than the preceding two years. On Monday July 21 Dr. Ken Lewis and I went out to fish Memorial Stadium reef and Man-O-War shoal with high hopes of finally getting some decent numbers to report for the MARI reef survey. We were not disappointed. Most of the White Perch were small, but we did get about a half dozen in the 9.5 to 11.5" range.

While fishing the Memorial Stadium site the drag on Ken's ultra light reel suddenly screamed and line on the spool disappeared toward the horizon. I fired up the engine and the chase was on. Clearly this fish was more than a match for the light rigging as he took line at will. After 15 minutes the fish finally began to tire and for the first time we were actually able to put line back on the reel by pulling it in as opposed to chasing him. When Ken finally brought him to the net we were rewarded with a 28" channel cat that nudged 10 pounds on the digital hand held scale.

Great weather + some delicious white perch + a big cat + two angler reports for the MARI reef survey = a great day on the bay.

 PHOTOS 

Skylar Hepner
Youth Angler
Mechanicsville
Total Reports:
5
Sent in on: July 23, 2014 Permalink

No Fish Just Ponies at Assateague

Type: Ocean
Region: Eastern
Location: Assateague Island, MD
Tags: Catfish, White Perch, Striped Bass

Last week my mom and dad took me to Assateague Island State Park to fish, see the ponies, and to do the Park Quest. We didn't catch any fish but we did see a couple of ponies.

I also visited my mom and dad's friends Bob and Sandy. Bob took us fishing at Crosswicks Creek in his boat. I caught a lot of fish (catfish, white perch, and one small rockfish). I released everything that I caught. I had a great day at both the places that I went to.

 PHOTOS